The History of Yoga
By: Della Menechella
The history of yoga is long and steeped in tradition. Contrary to what some people may believe, yoga was not developed as the newest way to slim down so they could fit into a smaller pants size.
The history of yoga goes back 5,000 years. It originated in India, and the first time the word yoga was found in written form was in the Rig Vada, one of the sacred texts used by Vedic priests. Yoga is a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment.
Originally, yoga techniques were passed down from teacher to student through word of mouth. These techniques had never been written down until the Indian sage Patanjali wrote down a systematic method of yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali is considered to be the father of yoga.
According to Patanjali, there are eight limbs of yoga, which lead to the ultimate goal of enlightenment.
Yama - abstaining from violence, stealing, lust, greed
Niyam - developing devotion, purity, studiousness, contentment, discipline
Pranayama - controlling the breath
Pratyahara - going inward and withdrawing attention from the outside world
Dharana - concentration
Dhyana - meditation
Samadhi - merging with the universal consciousness
The Swami Vivekananda added to the history of yoga by bringing it to America. In 1893, he addressed the Parliament of World Religions and discussed the path of yoga. As a result of his speech, it quickly began to blossom as a practice in many areas of the country. Yoga has since gained major popularity in the United States and many different styles including Hatha, Bikram, and Iyengar, are practiced by millions of people.
Knowing the history of yoga can help you, the practitioner, realize the richness that it has to offer. More than just a means of being fit and trim, yoga can help you live a healthy, whole, and empowered life.
About the Author
Della Menechella is a yoga and fitness enthusiast who has been involved in fitness for over thirty years. Here website http://www.beauty-fitness-yoga-source.com/ is filled with practical information about how you can make yoga and fitness a positive part of your life.
Return to Index
The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.
A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.
The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.
Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy
know there are plenty of other benefits.
Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.
Here is some good
instructional material on stretching:
If you enjoyed 'The Power of Stretching' article, consider
signing up for my free email list below:
Email List Reveals health, fitness and wellness tips
- secrets and information - delivered directly to your
For under $3,977